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Reciprocal link exchangeReciprocal link exchange still is an important strategy of link popularity building despite all the measures taken by the search engines to diminish its effect. Back in 1999-2001 obtaining a quality link exchange was not difficult, and webmasters used to respond more willingly to an e-mail request. But as more people became aware of this strategy so the reciprocal linking scam started to be a common practice.

Sometimes I check my old ‘link exchange’ e-mail account I used to build link popularity for my very first website. There are lots of people contacting me daily with exchange proposals. Well, not actually people – they are mostly bots.

Probably one of the reasons I still maintain that e-mail is that those requests are a source of a persistent amusement for me. One example: a request in pink letters with images of dancing puppies and bouncing hearts written by a ‘blond chick’ (picture attached) asking me to link to her pharmacy site! Or maybe I just enjoy reading the admiring comments on the outlook and content of my site that precede every exchange proposal?

Link exchange scam is an interesting theme for a study per se and still awaits its researchers. But in the meanwhile the SEO community is being successful in summarizing the guidelines for the most perfect link exchange scam.

Filing an Exchange Request

  • Send an automated e-mail request or use a bot to submit it via an online contact form. Combining the both methods is preferred whenever possible.
  • Use a free e-mail account such as Gmail, or better yet, some foreign free e-mail service to send your message. Sending a duplicate request from your company account is also beneficial.
  • Do send follow up e-mails. Sooner or later your victim will give up and read one of them.
  • Send minimum 100-300 automated requests every day. Push your mail server’s spam detection to the limits.
  • Make sure that the website you are trying to contact is absolutely unrelated to your field.
  • Send your request to every e-mail address you can find on the target site. Let the sales or customer support guys forward them to the webmaster.

Writing Your Request

  • Address properly. No names required. Best thing is to use the website’s title or at least the URL: “Dear Blue Cheap Online Widgets”, or “Hello”
  • Kiss ass. Tell your victims how much you adore their websites. Do use superlatives.
  • Inform. Let your recipients know how important PageRank and incoming links are. Go in depth with the mysteries and magnificence of the PageRank and how the high PageRank will ensure them the first positions in Google.
  • Scare. Notify them that their link popularity is low, and their positions in search engines are threatened.
  • Share a secret. Tell them that the three-way linking is more effective, since search engines detect and ignore two-way links.
  • Threaten. Notify them that their link will be removed from your high quality directory if they do not provide a link back in the specified number of days.
  • Show your scale. Make your message easily detectable as a bulk sending by setting a different font size and color for the recipient’s address and site name.
  • Be unofficial. Use the Internet argot in your e-mail. Like ‘u r’ instead of ‘you are’. This is the Internet – formalism is unacceptable.
  • Threaten them again. With hundreds of reminder e-mails.
  • Use a girl’s name. Most webmasters are male and should not resist a lady asking for a favor.

Prepare a Sound Links Page

  • Your link page must have at least 100 outgoing links, preferably uncategorized. Make sure that minimum 50% point to pharmacy and gambling websites.
  • Your proposed links page has to be deeply buried in a keyword-rich URL like:
  • Make sure the links page URL contains at least one poison keyword like ‘links’, ‘partners’, ‘directory’, or ‘exchanges’.
  • Alternatively provide a dynamic URL with a minimum of 100 characters of meaningless parameter values.
  • Choose links pages that are in Google’s supplementary index.
  • The PageRank for your page has to be between 0 and 3 with 0 being the best.
  • Make your page look more credible by putting AdSense ads on it. “Well, if Google approves this page, then it is worth having a link from it”.
  • Disguise your low PR links pages by opening them in a high PR frame.
  • Orphan pages are the best.

Use SEO Tricks

  • Link to your partners using one of the following options:
    • ‘nofollow’ attribute
    • javascript links
    • 302 ‘Found’ redirects
  • Edit robots.txt to restrict spiders from indexing your links pages.
  • Double protect your links pages from indexing by adding meta ‘noindex,nofollow’ tags.

The above guidelines are compiled from my own experience and the hilarious thread ‘SEO Link Exchange’ from the WebMasterWorld forum.

The list can be continued. Any suggestions?

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24 Responses to “Guidelines to a Perfect Link Exchange Scam”

  1. Search Marketing Facts » Guidelines to a Perfect Link Exchange Scam Says:

    [...] Reciprocal link exchange still is an important strategy of link popularity building despite all the measures taken by the search engines to diminish its effect. Back in 1999-2001 obtaining a quality link exchange was not difficult, and webmasters used to respond more willingly to an e-mail request. But as more people […]Read full entry [...]

  2. Arnie - Link Building Mav Says:

    Pretty funny stuff. At least I think you are trying to be funny.

  3. Krzysztof Leśniak Says:

    Arnie, read title carefully. This article is about “scam”.

  4. sirjesse Says:

    You have provided some usefull information on Link Exchang, and it is great resource like you have said, and I compleetly agree with you. There is another resource that contains some helpfull information that I have found, when it comes to Link Exchange, is a site that was created by a Jason Ryan Isaksen. Have you ever heard of his site, if it would be allowed, I would like to post a link to his web site on your blog, or would that be breaking some of the rules? I think that everyone here would benefit tremendously from reading what he has to say, Jason Ryan Isaksen has some helpfull and educated insight to share. Have you ever heard of this Jason Ryan Isaksen or any of his articles?


  5. oleg.ishenko Says:

    Hello Sirjesse,

    of course any relevant link that adds value to this blog is welcomed to the comments. In fact I have an open-minded linking policy and I have even disabled ‘nofollow’ attribute to encourage such contributions.

  6. Samuel Says:

    Very comprehensive and helpfull article. Keep it up.

  7. seo ranter Says:

    I admit I was one of those that sent automated queries to all day every day…..this article brings back old memories

  8. Guidelines to a Perfect Link Exchange Scam | All About SEO Says:

    [...] Guidelines to a Perfect Link Exchange Scam Originally published at Guidelines to a Perfect Link Exchange Scam [...]

  9. Guidelines to a Perfect Link Exchange Scam by Oleg Ishenko, « filmb Says:

    [...] April 2nd, 2007 Originally published at Guidelines to a Perfect Link Exchange Scam [...]

  10. Email Filtering + Email monitoring blog Says:

    Its a shame that automated trackbacks and postbacks are now following the same route as comments spam/scams. This was a useful networking tool to help get your blogs indexed by all the search engines.

  11. Gerd-E. Says:

    Oh, that’s excelent tips ;-)
    Links are not all, I need visitors.

  12. PageViews Says:

    My current favorite is the spammers that fill out my contact form. They start the content with Nice site… and then repeat the pharmacy message over and over as if I am for some reason going to post these brilliant responses as html on my site.

  13. software development companies Says:

    submitting article and blog is another method for link Exchange scam

  14. Custom Computer Programming Says:

    I have to admit – for a moment there I thought you were serious

  15. Johnny B. Goode Says:

    I use a link exchange ‘program’ for advertising purposes. Those who exchange links with me have a habit of coming back to make sure their link is still there, and eventually, some of them actually buy something. Not phenomenal by any means, but a sale is a sale. Besides, I think it’s funny. :-)

  16. wii bundle Says:

    RE: poison keyword like ‘links’, ‘partners’, ‘directory’, or ‘exchanges’

    You know I had no idea these were poisoned until yesterday I was looking at one of my sites “links” pages and the pr had gone from 4 to 0. I have to do a bunch of modifications on half a dozen sites now:( Actually I hadn’t heard about these other poison words until your post so thanks for the info!

  17. Guidelines to a Perfect Link Exchange Scam | Easy Vision Care Says:

    [...] Originally published at Guidelines to a Perfect Link Exchange Scam [...]

  18. Ram Says:

    Funny stuff, I read it from the middle and got confused. then i read it again to under the perfect way to scam.

    But, I still feel that there are lot of websites following the stratergy to get their back links. Good Blog

  19. Leadership Expert Says:

    Absolutely hilarious, and a few of these I hadnt thought of. Using a girls name – smart thinking!

  20. Computer Support Says:

    Really Funny stuff, But worth reading will forward it to read to other fellow webmaster.

  21. Alpha Inventions Says:

    Zap 2 years in the future. This article still makes sense.

  22. The Domain Naming Dude Says:

    Hah. Hilarious. But also sad as it is so painfully true. I just wish all your apostrophes weren’t rendered as â€. A real chore to read but still worth the effort. I’ve been getting link exchange requests from people who are hijacking someone else high PR. Really lame.I wrote about it here:

  23. David Frankk Says:

    Being new to this industry this post really helped me. I finally figured out why i get a million link exchange emails everyday. Guess i need to make a new account.

  24. Says:

    Nice article , worth reading Please visit for unique article and tips

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